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Thread: Time to turn it up a notch

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  1. #1
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    Time to turn it up a notch

    ok here it goes..
    This is my current set up:
    Six BFM DR200s
    Six BFM T45s
    Four Peavey amps
    Eight ADJ Pocket Scans
    Five DIY Flood lights

    The system absolutely rocks and the last big gig i had was a homecoming with 450 screaming kids. I know they all had a good time, they were screaming along to the lyrics, packed all night long, with a ton of compliments afterwards... then poof, nothing. I haven't had a gig in quite some time. I have been trying to drum up some business, but nothing yet. To make matters worse i finally got a hold of the previous high school and they said i was too expensive I did e-mail them back and asked if we could have a phone call to discuss what their budget and expectations were, but i do not expect to hear back.

    I do not want to lower my price, at the same time i want to make sure my set up is presentable and looks professional.
    Please be brutally honest, what can i do to help my system look like the real deal?
    What can i do to minimize setup and tear down time?
    My goal is for the kids to have fun, and i think part of that is a rockin system (which no one else around here has one like this), fun lights and a DJ who is engaged on what is going on. BUT what do the adults of these school dances want? What's the secret for repeat business?

    Anyway for reference i really like these guys light set up:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buJkJEoB_mA

    I just can not afford to go out and buy all that truss, stands, lights etc all at once, nor do i have the real estate to store that much gear.
    However i fear my light stands are not tall enough and lack the professional look. (Everyone has truss these days, right?)
    I also think that my pocket scans just are not bright enough and i need to upgrade. I like scanners vs moving heads, but i guess it's a moot point if i can't get some business. I mean i could have the best show around, but if no one knows about it then i just have a rockin house system.







    Any suggestions would be great!
    thanks

  2. #2
    Truck Driver Dix's Avatar
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    Based on what I see in your post, if you want to play cheap gigs, you got to accept cheap prices. I am too high for school events too. Their budget is usually about 1/3 of what I charge. When schools call me, I tell them right up front that I'll be happy to provide them with a quote but normally, I am too high for school budgets. In the end, I don't do school events for a couple of reasons.

    Now, to answer your question as I understand it, you say you want the gig, but you don't want to lower your prices (& personally, I agree with that strategy). Yet you want to know how to minimize your setup (I'm assuming so you can get the gig) but still be great for the school gig.
    Minimizing your setup isn't going to get you the gig if you don't minimize your price along with the set up. Your set up ain't the problem for the school... the price is. You could get it down to a phone & a speaker but if you don't lower your price, your still not going to get the school events.

    My advice, if you want to play for those 450 screaming kids, lower your price to accommodate the budget of the school, otherwise leave it & move on to a better paying gig.
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  3. #3
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    I guess i am just asking about the minimizing set up from a time perspective. Trying to be more efficient...

    And i am asking about the look of my setup. I know people are sold on appearance as well and i want to make sure my set up looks the part.
    Do I NEED a facad? Do I NEED a giant truss system?
    What aspects do higher end coustomers look for?
    I know i can out perform the next guy in terms of sound performance, but if no one will look at me twice, how do i get in the door? Make sense?

  4. #4
    Moderator DJ Bobcat's Avatar
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    Time to turn it up a notch

    Quote Originally Posted by bigCcat View Post
    I guess i am just asking about the minimizing set up from a time perspective. Trying to be more efficient...

    And i am asking about the look of my setup. I know people are sold on appearance as well and i want to make sure my set up looks the part.
    Do I NEED a facad? Do I NEED a giant truss system?
    What aspects do higher end coustomers look for?
    I know i can out perform the next guy in terms of sound performance, but if no one will look at me twice, how do i get in the door? Make sense?
    I suppose it depends a lot on what you consider high end??? Higher end DJís are NOT doing high school dances. The highest end DJ I know is DJ Taso out of New Jersey. Hereís his setup...


    ... https://www.djtaso.com/

    Notice he has NO truss system. He uses a podium setup with a facade behind to hide assistants and their gear. He used to stand behind that facade too. His setup is elegant and very clean. Iíd estimate he gets in excess of $2500 per gig, but I donít know what his exact rates are. I know heís a full-time DJ making 6 figures. Pretty good for a DJ.

    Iím am NOT in that league. Taso does mostly weddings and Sweet 16ís and I do neither. Heís also less than half my age. Iím OK with not being high end, though.
    Last edited by DJ Bobcat; 03-12-2019 at 12:09 PM.

  5. #5
    Truck Driver Dix's Avatar
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    I dont know that there has been a thread on facade here in a few years, but I am assuming they are still in style. You are correct in assuming that facades were always associated with more professional setups. IMHO, adding a facade certainly couldn't hurt.

    I am not kicking you around but just to note, adding a facade ain't reducing your setup. I guess you could add a facade to cover up a lack of equipment or messy lines & cables that aren't clean... that'll save time I guess.

    I guess a giant truss system is gonna depend on if you have a giant light show. If a couple of nice clean professional lighting trees will work for your business model, nothing wrong with keeping it small. So, in that case, no, you wouldn't need a giant truss for a few lights (up to 4 lights per tree etc). I'd say if you have more than 8 lights, you may need to go to a truss.
    Personally, I don't see the need for a large light show unless your doing something like those large school event where millennials expect it for a big throw down (then again, those schools cant afford that much lighting). Most wedding clients in my experience don't want their wedding to look like a beer joint (dance club) or a Cher concert. Minimal lighting to enhance the dance time is sufficient. I refer to it as "wedding appropriate". Now, having said that, the event is always "the clients event".... period. If the client wants it to look like half time at the super bowl, I can accommodate that (I have a contact that is a lighting company that I can call that actually does concerts etc). They just need the money to have that done. Personally, I don't see enough events that large, where that much lighting is needed, so I don't invest in it. I invest in what I can reasonably sell on a regular basis & make my money back within one year, in 10 events. If I cant sell a product/equipment 10 times in one year, I (as a rule) wont invest in it.

    I hope this helps.
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  6. #6
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    Good advise, yes.

    Having been googling a ton of set up pictures, i think some proper stands for my main speakers would help, even a small facad in front of the stand, and a facad up front, though, just enough to cover the wiring. I like that kids come up and ask for requests.

    I’m still unsure about truss and a set up there. I think if i could spread out my Pocket scans that it’s would look better.
    Practically all of my gigs have been school or youth group dances and the lighting really helps.
    Of the few weddings i have done, i agree with you, i haven’t done too much, just flood lights and two of my pocket scans. Which really worked out nice as I just set them to spot light mode and focused on a spot on the dance floor and that’s where the bride and groom did their 1st dance, worked out really well.

    Got me thinking though about trying to branch out and do something other than these school dances, with the amount of time it takes to haul all that gear in and them being under such a tight budget. But the kids are so much fun to play for!! They get so into it!

  7. #7
    Moderator DJ Bobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigCcat View Post
    Good advise, yes.

    Having been googling a ton of set up pictures, i think some proper stands for my main speakers would help, even a small facad in front of the stand, and a facad up front, though, just enough to cover the wiring. I like that kids come up and ask for requests.

    Iím still unsure about truss and a set up there. I think if i could spread out my Pocket scans that itís would look better.
    Practically all of my gigs have been school or youth group dances and the lighting really helps.
    Of the few weddings i have done, i agree with you, i havenít done too much, just flood lights and two of my pocket scans. Which really worked out nice as I just set them to spot light mode and focused on a spot on the dance floor and thatís where the bride and groom did their 1st dance, worked out really well.

    Got me thinking though about trying to branch out and do something other than these school dances, with the amount of time it takes to haul all that gear in and them being under such a tight budget. But the kids are so much fun to play for!! They get so into it!
    Sweet 16ís are kids too, only their daddyís have big bucks.😄


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  8. #8
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    HA!
    Ok seriously though is that a point you specifically make on your advert or webpage. “Sweet 16 parties” ?

  9. #9
    Moderator DJ Bobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigCcat View Post
    HA!
    Ok seriously though is that a point you specifically make on your advert or webpage. ďSweet 16 partiesĒ ?
    YES!!!... Absolutely! You have to aim at your target audience. Look at DJ Tasoís web site. Which by the way... these days you need a high end web site, and you must be on Instagram and Facebook, but Instagram is where the kids are today, more so than Facebook.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigCcat View Post
    Any suggestions would be great!
    OK I'm gonna be brutally honest for a second... your light system is nowhere near to being on the same level as your audio system. Those pocket scans are what... 15w LED? In a gym and for teen events especially you need be able to flood the room with color. These days that means 100w LED movers and pars and they need to be way up overhead... like 15-20ft high!! That could require some large crank stands or in that gym you pictured above you could get the same results by placing your existing stands up on the overhead mezzanine.. if that was permitted.

    Now all this is moot if you don't book any events at profitable prices, teen dances were a struggle when I was doing them 30yrs ago, like you I had one of the biggest sound systems around with a large halogen lighting system that was custom made to do high school gyms. But every year we faced an uphill battle to book dances as there was always somebody willing to do it cheaper and of course that is all a school has ever cared about. Unfortunately I think that unless you are in an upscale market where everybody spends big on everything you may have to look for other opportunities. I briefly marketed to schools when I started my current equipment rental business but I quickly found there was no money in it, they balked at paying more than $300 for a pretty nice setup with some truss on crank stands while I have no problem booking weddings where equipment costs alone are in the $800-1200 range. $300 doesn't pay for any equipment if you're putting 6-8hrs of your time into an event and that gets to the crux of the problem I think, unless you have a bunch of money to play with and are just looking for a hobby the business should pay for itself and give you some profit.

    At the bare minimum the total cost for any event should include these line items..
    -Equipment rental costs
    -Labor
    -Transportation

    Equipment costs are often factored as somewhere around 5-10% of retail cost for a piece of equipment such that the equipment is paid for over it's expected life cycle which could be anywhere from 1-5yrs. For DIY equipment that could be as low as material costs for the build or as high as what a comparable manufactured product would cost.
    Labor is what you get paid, are you going to accept minimum wage or do you want something better than that.
    Transportation = gas and maybe a truck rental, why should you absorb that cost.

    If you do the math on all that you will see the sad truth.. schools often are not worth the trouble, so do you branch out or throw in the towel. There is a lot more money in weddings, private parties and corporate events but with a few possible exceptions your current speakers are probably not suitable at all for those type events so you would most likely be starting over from scratch with all your gear. OK that is my 2c from where I sit.
    Last edited by conanski; 03-12-2019 at 11:52 PM.
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